BulletinGold #107
November 2009   Vol 9 #9

Website Submissions
BulletinGold #107
November 2009
Vol. 9 Num. 9
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
BulletinGold is published the first Sunday of each month to help Church of Christ bulletin editors and writers share Bible-based, doctrinal material for church bulletins and Christian writing. You received BulletinGold because you subscribed. If you received this copy from a friend and would like to subscribe, please send a blank email to: BulletinGold-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Be sure and reply to the letter sent to your email by YahooGroups. If you need to unsubscribe, you may do so by sending an email to: BulletinGold-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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In This Issue:
Can We BE Thankful?
By Shane Robinson

Don’t Wait For Thanks, Rick Woodall
Do Yourself No Harm!  By Barry C. Poyner
Thanksgiving - A Spirit of Praise, Gerald Cowan
Thanksgiving, Ron Thomas
ABC’s of a Thankful Heart
Coping With the Holidays
How Much Do You Own In That Direction?
Letting Go
How To Observe Thanksgiving
A Single Love, J. Randal Matheny
Words Fail, H. L. Gradowith
Rules For Today
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs

New Postings At
Editorial by David Bragg
     A number of years ago two bus shelters were installed in Mesa, AZ at a cost of $32,000.  Anyone using them in the hope of catching a city bus, however, had a long wait because the shelters were not placed on any of the city's existing bus routes (AP, 6-27-03).  That same year in Rhode Island an independent road striping crew, working under a state contract, painted a "prominent crosswalk on Cucumber Hill Road in Foster, RI, connecting a hedge on one side with a stone wall on the other" (AP, 6-7-03).  Have you ever felt like your life was going nowhere?  Countless people around the world, even around your block, people are seeking to discover meaning in their lives.  How can we, as Christians, sit quietly by as they wander aimlessly without hope, going nowhere?
     "No one," Jesus said, "having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).  Paul exemplified this aspect of discipleship (Phil. 3:14).  In his letters this apostle, who held the high honor of Roman citizenship, reminded Christians of their exalted honor of citizenship in heaven (Phil. 3:20).  As Christians, we, more than any other people in this world, have so much for which to be thankful.  Let us use the opportunities of this time of year to share with others the many blessings we enjoy in Christ, especially our hope in Christ that can bring ultimate meaning into the lives of those living without hope.
     Occasionally Paul would glance into his past, to attainments no longer cherished (Phil. 3:7-8).  He recalled his suffering (2 Cor. 11:23-28), not for personal glory but to regain the spiritually confused.  Paul also remembered the role he played in Stephen's murder (Acts 22:20), using those painful memories in an effort to "connect with" an angry mob and potentially share the Gospel with them.  Then, in his final letter, on the verge of certain death, he took a final glance over an incredible life of Christian service (2 Tim. 4:6-8).  His eyes couldn't linger long for they were fixed on heaven.  His work done, the apostle to the Gentiles was finally going home.

David Bragg

Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
Can We BE Thankful?
By Shane Robinson

     In 1 Thessalonians 2, verse 13, Paul said, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” Paul was thankful to God that the Thessalonians received the word of God that he preached to them (i.e. thankful be-cause they were Christians). We understand and know Paul was not an arrogant man (1 Cor.9:16), but gave God the credit for every conversion (2 Cor.4:15). While it is true Paul gave God the credit for man’s salvation, he also knew he played a part in the process (1 Cor.3:6; Rom.10:14).
     Here is the point – can we thank God for those we have led to Christ? I am not suggesting we compare numbers, but I am suggesting we ponder the question. Don Humphrey, in his book Hearts of Fire, writes: “The average member of the church of Christ has heard 4,000 sermons, sung 20,000 songs, participated in 8,000 public prayers, and converted 0 sinners.” Are we “average members”?
     There is power in the gospel of Christ, and we must not be ashamed to tell others about its power (Rom.1:16-17). Yes, we can be thankful for the soul saving message of Christ and for the fact we obeyed it (Rom.6:17). We are stewards of the gospel of Christ (1 Cor.4:1-2). Not all are waterers, and not all are planters, but we must all work together so God may give the increase (Eph.4:16).
     Consider this holiday season a time to be thankful…thankful that God gave you an opportunity to speak to a family member who is not a Christian or an erring Christian about salvation through Jesus Christ. Take advantage of the “Searching for Truth,” or “Returning to Truth” DVD’s available free upon request.

- Shane Robinson preaches for the Lake Hills church of Christ in Chattanooga, TN.  He may be contacted at shane@lakehillschurchofchrist.org or through their website at http://www.lakehillschurchofchrist.org/

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Don’t Wait For Thanks
By Rick Woodall

     I guess one of the things that I struggle with is people who are totally unappreciative of kindnesses and love that good people bestow on others. I suppose one should not be quick to blame folks for the coldness that exists in this present world. Yet, just the other day I was walking in a store and a lady was behind me pushing a baby stroller. I paused to hold the door for her and she looked at me and said, “You don’t need to do that. Will you move please?”
     Needless to say I was simply astonished. I was brought up with the teaching that if a woman is walking down the sidewalk with you that you walk on the side near the road, to say please and thank you, to say I’m sorry and to be grateful and indebted to those who were so kind to go out of their way for you. My gift reminds me to keep on being nice even when people in this bitter impolite civilization don’t care. You know why? It is more important what God sees in us than what the spiritually blind cant see. Heaven will be inhabited by the grateful.
     “As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." –Luke 17:12 – 19
     Did you read it? One of them said thank you. Ten were healed by the love of Jesus. Only one said thank you. In these days it is hard to keep a gentle heart of caring and being full of love. Many take advantage of the Lord’s church. Many in the church take advantage of each other thinking it is a requirement. They use the church to get married, bury their dead and even as a pillow of comfort when they days are tough.  Then, just like the nine they just walk off and bathe in their good things they received never uttering an sentiment of thanks.
     Let me encourage all of us to keep doing the good things. I know someone who is very thankful. He matters the most.
     "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” - Matt 5:11 – 14

- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Yorktown Road church of Christ in Logansport Indiana. His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be found through this address:  http://mysite.verizon.net/yorktownroadchurchofchrist/

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Do Yourself No Harm!
By Barry C. Poyner

     More people in the US die from suicide than homicide.  Approximately 30,000 people each year commit suicide compared to 16,000 that are murdered. You should be more afraid of yourself than an unnamed killer!  Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, especially young white males where suicide is seen as a solution to stress, confusion, and depression.  In the last 20 years the largest increase in suicide rates occurred among Americans 65 and older, especially those divorced or widowed, with men accounting for 84% of all suicides in this category.  We may be living longer, but not necessarily better.  It takes a man, it takes a woman—and I’m persuaded God’s man and God’s woman—to be faithful until death, to trust God’s timing.
      The Philippian jailer (Acts 16:23-34) could have ended his life, but was stopped by the Apostle Paul.  “Do yourself no harm, we are all here.”  And that’s true today, we’re here to help you.  The Roman penalty for letting capital offense prisoners escape was death.  The keeper was ready to take his life.  Asleep earlier when Paul and Silas were singing and preaching, he asked what to do, and followed through.  God can forgive you from attempting suicide and from other destructive sin patterns in your life.
      Sadly many people are more afraid of living than they are dying!  Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10).  He gave us the church as a support group and family to help us.  He does not spare us from persecution, troubles, illnesses.  He does give us a perspective that looks beyond the physical realm and a way to cope that the ungodly do not have.
      There are 5 cases of suicide in the Bible.  Each case is sad.  King Saul at one time had everything, but he spared King Agag and left God’s plan. God determined to remove him as king.  Rather than accepting his punishment, Saul clung to power.  His vain attempts to retain power made him paranoid (distressed spirit), make rash promises, turn to attempted murder, and even to witchcraft.  In the end, badly-wounded Saul asked his armor bearer to assist him in death.  The armor bearer declined, so Saul fell on a sword, and the armor bearer died similarly (1 Chron. 10).  He died without God and without hope.
      Ahithophel was a counselor of King David, but sided with Absalom’s rebellion. He counseled Absalom to violate David’s concubines and demonstrate his power in a despicable act (2 Samuel 16:21-23). Ahithophel further advised an immediate pursuit of David.  When he saw the strategic maneuver to capture David had been forfeited, he resigned himself to ultimate defeat.  He calmly put his house in order and hanged himself (2 Sam. 17:23).  Suicide, like rebellion, is a selfish act. Ahithophel was a pragmatist, concerned only with his own career, and not God’s plans.
      The kings of north Israel were ruthless idol worshipers.  Zimri illustrates that those that live by the sword die by the sword.  He had killed Elah the son of Baasha.  Then as soon as he could, killed all the descendents of Baasha.  Zimri was to rule North Israel for one week!  His rule was rejected by the people, and Omri was authorized to apprehend him. When Zimri saw his doom was in sight, he burned his palace and himself (1 Kings 16: 15-20).  He died without God and committed suicide to escape the judgment of man.
      Judas is the 5th case of suicide.  One of the 12 apostles, Judas served as treasurer.  He was critical of ointment poured on Jesus, and his love for money led him to steal (John 12:4-6). This same love for money led him to betray Jesus (Matt. 26:14-16).  Greed was his downfall.  When he saw that Jesus was condemned, he became remorseful, recognized his money as blood money, threw it at the Jewish leaders, then hanged himself (Matt. 27:1-9; Acts 1:17-18).  Judas had remorse, but it was a worldly despair.  He was sorry for his betrayal, but did not turn back to God.  Godly sorrow turns to repentance, not despair (2 Cor. 7:8-11).
      The word “suicide” does not appear in the Bible.  God’s value on life makes it unthinkable.  It is forbidden under the commandment not to murder.  Is it unforgivable?  In these cases, it does seem so.  One may have moments to repent after the act, and illness may impair judgment that God will overlook.  But why take a risk and forfeit life to come?  As Jesus resisted the temptation to hurl himself from the temple pinnacle, he answered, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Matt. 4:5-7).
      Some argue that Samson committed suicide in Judges 16:29-30.  However, suicide is a selfish act.  Samson died as a military hero having destroyed more in the end and is listed among the faithful (Heb. 11:32).  Others have even suggested that Jesus committed suicide by knowingly going to the cross.  Such is a misunderstanding.  He heroically gave his life—willingly and sacrificially.
      People may legitimately long for death and not be suicidal.  Those to be punished may long for it (Rev. 9:6; Jer. 8:3).  Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), Job (Job 3), and Jonah (4:8) longed for death when in dire situations.  Simeon felt his life was complete and thought he could now die (Luke 2:29).  Paul knew that to die was to gain (Phil. 1:20-23).  But none of these godly people sought to end life.
      Circumstances can put us in tailspins, and we may be tempted to sin by ending life.  The jailer could have ended his life, but he heeded God’s word.  Allow your sorrow to turn to repentance.  Participate in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to gain the ultimate victory. Do yourself no harm!

- Barry Poyner serves as an elder and the pulpit minister for the church of Christ in Kirksville, MO.  He may be contacted at Books@ChampionChristianBooks.com, or through these websites:  http://www.kirksvillechurchofchrist.com   http://championchristianbooks.com/

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Thanksgiving - A Spirit of Praise
By Gerald Cowan

     Can we learn to give thanks in every thing and for everything? Thankfulness is an attitude that we can and must develop.
     Why are so many not thankful? Perhaps because they think of what they want and do not know how to evaluate or continue to be thankful for what they have received and currently have. They compare themselves with others and feel slighted. It might be good to be thankful that we do not have some things we do not want! We should count our own blessings, not those of others.
     One thing we can learn and apply right now: give others something to be thankful for. Giving of yourself is good, but above all give yourself.
     Here are some ways to develop a positive and grateful Christian attitude. (1) Look for the good in everyone and every thing. (2) By an act of will ban improper things from your mind and fill it with positive things. (3) Never surrender to negative emotions. (4) Practice the "As if" principle. Act as if you already have the character you want to have. (5) Maintain an attitude of good will toward others. (6) Acknowledge the good in others. (7) Be an ambassador or good will to everybody. (8) Express appreciation and praise for what others do. (9) Allow others to give to you. (10) Practice positive prayer.
     If you think you have nothing to be grateful for, compare the things you have with others who are deprived of them.
     If you have been saved by obeying Christ you have something not one person in 6,000 can be sure of. If you have not been saved by Christ, nothing else you have or can get will compensate for the deficiency.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

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By Ron Thomas

Thanksgiving is, in the eyes of some, esteemed as the greatest of holidays. When one thinks about the idea of thanksgiving, it is easy to appreciate the holiday as some do – being the greatest of holidays. Those who are truly thankful, however, are those who were once dead, but are now alive. The Lord spoke to the Jews and said that the hour was coming in which the dead would hear His voice and live (John 5:25). The Lord was not referring to the second coming, for that He does in 5:28-29. The Lord referred to those who heard His voice (orally, and through the written word) and responded to His holy will. They were dead in sin, but applying the truth of God's word to their individual lives, they are now alive spiritually (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17). Those who live, but were once dead, were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-10), but now are alive in Christ. This is a time for Thanksgiving.

- Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website as http://www.highwaycofc.com

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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
ABC’s of a Thankful Heart

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame.
Even when the times are hard
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine what life would be without His love.
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee.
More out of “Camp Complaining.”
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone.
Quit looking at the future.
Redeem the time at hand.
Start every day with worship.
To “thank” is a command.
Until we see Him coming.
Victorious in the sky
We’ll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high.
Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but …
Zion waits in glory … where none are ever sad!

- via the weekly bulletin of the Central church of Christ in Paducah KY.  Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the congregation.  He may be contacted at paducahcentralcoc@comcast.net or through the church’s website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org

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Prayer For America

     Almighty God, who has given us this good heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will.
     Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners.
     Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
     Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people of multitudes brought out of many kindred and tongues.
     Endow with the spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be peace and justice at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.
     In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble suffers not our trust in Thee to fail.

                                                        GEORGE WASHINGTON

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How Much Do You Own In That Direction?

    George Washington Truett was a preacher in Dallas for 47 years.  He once visited a wealthy West Texas rancher and had dinner in his huge ranch home.  After dinner, the rancher took Dr. Truett up to a veranda on top of his house, and lit up a big cigar.  The sun was setting, and if you’ve ever been to West Texas, you know you can see a long way out there.  The man pointed to the south toward some oil rigs and said, “I own everything in that direction as far as you can see.”  He pointed east toward some cotton fields and said, And I own everything in that direction, too.”  He pointed north toward a huge herd of cattle and bragged, “And preacher, I own everything as far as you can see in that direction.”  He turned to the west, and said, “And I own everything you can see in that direction, except the sun, of course.”
    Dr.. Truett turned to the man and pointed straight up in the sky and said, “And how much do you own in that direction?”
    It’s a sobering question for all of us.  We are surrounded constantly by the “things” of this world, and it is so easy to think that these “things” are the things that matter most—a nice car, a nice home, nice clothes (and don’t forget all the necessary electronic gadgets!).  And so, if we’re not careful, we may seek to accumulate more and more, without regard to our relationship with God.  As the rich fool discovered in Luke 12, we will all one day be forced to recognize that the material things we have accumulated have no eternal value..
    Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
    How much do you own in that direction?

- Source forgotten;  via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Letting Go

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization that I don’t control another.
To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another; I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective; it is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past, but you grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.

 - Unknown

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Hearts of Gold - poetry
        How To Observe Thanksgiving

Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friend instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your full years instead of your lean;

Count your health instead of your wealth.
Count on God instead of yourself.

- Source unknown;  via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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          A Single Love
    By J. Randal Matheny

A single love for the heart,
  To know and let be known,
Is fletching to the dart,
  And marrow to the bone.

- J. Randal Matheny edits and writes UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He
may be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>. When reprinting this
material, please include the following:  Copyright (c) 2009 J. Randal
Matheny. All rights reserved.

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Words Fail
By H. L. Gradowith

So many times I've shaken some dear brother's hand
As to worship or study he made his way in;
O! the joys of worship make our weary lives grand!
I'm always ready for the worship to begin!

But sometimes my thoughts turn to that City Above,
Where in the Lord's presence forever we will dwell;
Just imagine a Land of pure and perfect love!
O! the half of it words... they just fail us to tell!

I love it when we stand and talk to each other
Ere time to start -- then we take our seats in our pew;
O! the love I have for my sisters and brothers...
How sweet, O! how sweet it is to give Him His due!

It's wonderful to study the bless'd Holy Word,
To pray with one another, then praise Him in song,
To eat the Lord's Supper and thus honor our Lord,
Then to give of our means... how these things keep us strong.

It is grand to look into some dear brothers eyes
And to see in them Jesus -- our Savior and King!
Or to watch as some sinner comes to realize
That Jesus is Lord and then gives Him ev'rything.

It's great to study and it's wonderful to learn
And I love good singing -- Sunday dinner's nice, too;
But sometimes for Heaven my old heart starts to yearn.
Things are nice here and there's always plenty to do...

- H. L. Gradowith  For more information on H. L. Gradowith and GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/ - the website of Tim Smith, minister of the Enon church of Christ in Webb, AL.

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Rules For Today

Just for Today, Lord I will live through the next 12 hours and not try to tackle all of life’s problems at once.
I will not find fault with friend, relative or colleague.
I will not try to change or improve anyone but myself.
I will have a program. I might not follow it exactly,
But, I have it.

I will save myself from two enemies – hurry and indecision.
I will do a good turn and keep it a secret.
If anyone finds out, it won’t count.

I will believe in myself.
I will give my best to the world and feel confident that the world will give its best to me.

- Author Unknown

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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
Blessed is the person who makes you homesick for heaven.

Satan doesn’t care what we worship as long as it isn’t God.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

     “Only when you are silent can you learn something new.”
     “A friend is someone who is coming in when everyone else is going out..”
     “Jumping to conclusions doesn’t take as much exercise as digging for facts
     “Fools rush in where fools have often been before.”  .”

- Submitted by Bill Williams

Italian Proverb: “The same fire purifies gold and consumes straw.”

“The test of character is not whether you conform to moral standards when they are the community norm, but whether you continue to adhere to them when the community strays elsewhere.”

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted at - ron33dor@yahoo.com  You may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

“So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.”

- Arthur Guiterman, The First Thanksgiving

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

"Without Thy sunshine and Thy rain
We could not have the golden grain;
Without Thy love we'd not be fed;
We thank Thee for our daily bread.

- Anonymous
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  (John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good..." (Psalm 100:4, 5a)

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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
Thirty-Five Things Satan Wants from You and Me, Tim Childs
The Internet, Gerald Cowan
Seduction, Mike Benson
SIN: A Before and After Picture, Darrell Powell
If Only You Knew What I Have Done, Debbie Preuss
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